Identify, Indicate or Implicate the Pain?

Indicate the Pain in MEDDICC

The I in MEDDICC has a few definitions. A common misconception is that the I is just a way of getting to the P, which stands for Pain. However, if you go more in-depth on it, you’ll uncover that it represents the opportunity to create the most value in the entire MEDDICC framework: The Three I’s Transition:

The Three I’s Transition:

i1. Identify the Pain
i2. Indicate the Pain
i3. Implicate the Pain

Sellers normally stick on identifying the pain. You need to implicate the pain upon your customer!

Each I represents a stage in your process to Implicate the Pain, which starts with** Identifying the Pain**. This is the stage occupied by most sellers upon completion of doing some Discovery with the client. Average Sellers will use this information in the selling to direct their strengths towards the Pain they have identified.

Leading sales methodologies such as SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham, or Command of the Message by Force Management would refer to the circumstance where you have Identified the Pain as being the ‘Situation’ or the ‘Before State’ as with those principles Sellers have much more work to do to fully uncover the Pain.

Tactics to Identify the Pain

  • Identify Pain by talking about problems you have solved for your customers and expand upon them by asking if they are having the same problems.
  • If the organization is consumer facing and you are able to demonstrate some problems such as a poor user experience you should highlight this to your customer.
  • Use open ended Discovery questions to uncover Pain

The next stage in the transition is to Indicate the Pain. While Average Sellers will Identify the Pain and use it indirectly when selling Good Sellers will Indicate the Pain to their customers, usually by quantifying it into a document that illustrates their return on investment. Often this is presented as part of a proposal or business case.

Indicating the Pain relates to the ‘Problem’ in SPIN Selling and the ‘Negative Consequences’ in Command of the Message.

By Indicating the Pain the customer is likely to know what their Pain is and how much it is costing them.

Tactics to Indicate the Pain

Work with your Champion to quantify the cost of the Pain to the business and build it out into a business case that shows the proposed return on investment that the customer will get by implementing your solution and subsequently solving the Pain.

In order to maximize the value that your solution is perceived to provide Sellers need to move to the final stage of the The Three I’s transition which is to Implicate this Pain upon their customers making them feel the negative impact the Identified Pain is having on their business. When done correctly, this will elevate the pain from something they may have wanted to solve in the future to something they have to address immediately.

Tactics to Implicate the Pain

  • Show a glimpse into the future Utopian state that your solution can provide.
  • Use Two-Sided Discovery to make the customer live in the moment of their Pain

A question to ask yourself as a seller or if you are a sales leader to ask your reps:

“Have you implicated the pain in this deal? or has it just been identified?”

To put it another way:

Which of the following three scenarios best describes the pain associated with your deals:

i1: Identify the Pain — You have identified some pain
i2: Indicate the Pain — You have Indicated the cost of the pain to your customer
i3: Implicate the Pain — You have implicated the pain onto your customer and they feel the negative impact it is having upon their business

Elite Implicate. Average Identify.

For many these will be nuances or subtle differences, but, for those in the know, it is the difference between the average, the good and the elite sellers.

In MEDDICC the Pain is often defined as Identify Pain, or Indicate Pain. It should be Implicate Pain. MEDDIC MEDDICC or MEDDPICC

This is an excerpt from the upcoming book MEDDICC — The Book. For more information join our newsletter:

Note: As MEDDICC is a qualification Framework the purpose of the The Three I’s Transition is to help Sellers qualify whether they have Identified, Indicated and Implicated the Pain. Just like the rest of MEDDICC it should be applied over the top of a sales methodology such as the aforementioned SPIN Selling or Command of the Message.